WHO IS ALLAH?

Every creation in the universe is in search of an instigator. Man is no exception to this fact. He seeks the cause behind every phenomenon and every occurrence. There isn't a single phenomenon or particle that is absolutely self-explanatory to be beyond all quests. Without excluding even a minute object from atoms to constellations, man is in search of a cause behind everything in the universe. On discovering it, he turns further more curious and strives to discover the cause behind what he has already discovered. This persistent investigation is not infinite. It eventually leads to the Almighty Creator, who is the Ultimate and the Absolute – the One True God. He is the final destination of all enquiries and quests. In fact, every object in this universe, however small or big, demands a reason. Thus, certainly, Almighty God, who is beyond all quests and does not demand a reason should be remote from this world and should be different from all that is created. Islam refers to thistranscentendal entity, which created and sustains each and every minute as well as massive object of the universe, as Allah. In Arabic, the word ‘Allah' signifies the entity which is responsible for the creation and perpetuation of each and ever minute as well as massive substance and the various phenomena in the entire universe. Anyone who ponders over the existence of himself or of anything that he sees around him will certainly realise the presence of His existence. Anyone who ponders over the existence of the mastermind, who sways the atoms and sustains the constellations, will realise the truth of His existence. However, Allah whom the Qur'an introduces is not solely a spirit or a blind reason or a mere form without an entity. Indeed, it is beyond the capabilities of man to interpret the physical nature of the entity of Allah. The Almighty alone can disclose His own characteristics to us and He did disclose it through the Holy Scriptures. Yet, the objects that we see around us,those that exist entirely due to His creation, reveals to a certain extent, His characteristics and His intentions. The other terms that we use to refer to the Almighty, like ‘God' in English, Khuda in Urdu, do not possess a meaning equivalent to that of the Arabic term ‘Allah'. The terms ‘God' or Khuda take the meaning ‘that which is worshipped'. The Arabic term holding similar meaning is Ilah. Anyone who is being worshipped can be referred to as Ilah. Etymologists differ in their opinion regarding the origin of the word ‘Allah'. Some demand that it is Mushtaq (word derived from another word) and others say that it is Jaamid (original word unique by itself). Both the opinions are quoted below. Some scholars opine that the term ‘Allah' was formulated when the common name Ilah is preceded by the article Al. Thus ‘Allah' is Al-Ilah which means, ‘the One, who alone is worthy to be worshipped' or ‘the One True God'. Those who disagree with this prescribed origin of the word ‘Allah' have many reasons to quote. One among them is that if ‘Allah' is a combination of Al and Ilah, we cannot use the phrase Ya Allah (Oh! Allah) according to the Arabic grammar rules - only Ya Ilah can be used. For example, we use the word Al-Rahman (The Merciful) to allude to Allah. But when Ya (Oh!) is used, the correct usage is Ya Rahman (Oh! Merciful) and not Ya Al-Rahman (Oh! The Merciful). But since we use Ya Allah (Oh! Allah), it means that Al is not separate in the word ‘Allah'. Also, we break the rules in Arabic to pronounce the word ‘Allah'. Again, if it is a non Arabic word adapted into Arabic, it cannot have three vowels (Harkath). Thus many scholars are of opinion that the word ‘Allah' is neither Arabic nor foreign but local to all languages. All these opinions are from highly renowned scholars and none of these opinions goes beyond the Islamic principles. Nevertheless, the term ‘Allah' is used to refer to the One True God. Allah is the creator, controller and sustainer of each and every object the He created. He is omnipotent and omniscient. ‘Allah' is not the title assigned to the worshipping body of a particular race or particular tribe. But He is the true God of everything and every person irrespective of his nation, language or tribe. Different languages use different names to refer to the creator. Going through the Upanishads, we realize that Parabrahma and Paramathma are the words used in Sanskrit to refer to the All-Powerful creator. The Old Testament uses the following words to allude to the creator: El, Elohim, El shaddai, El Elyon, Adonai, Yah, Yahweh (Jehovah). Since none of Jesus's (peace be upon him) commandments are available in his own Aramaic language, it is impossible to know how he used to refer to the Almighty Creator. Yet, biblical scholars are of opinion that he used to allude to Almighty God as Elohi. It has already been mentioned that the Qur'an uses the term ‘Allah' to refer to the Creator of the entire universe and that this title holds the meaning ‘the real one who deserves to be worshipped'. There are scholars who comment that there is not even a single word, in any other languages, to equal the Arabic term ‘Allah'. Whatever be the fact behind it, the Qur'an uses the term ‘Allah' to refer to the real God and it doesn't indicate any bias towards any particular race. The Qur'an introduces Allah as the creator, the conservator and the controller of the Muslims, the Hindus, the Christians, the Jews, the Parsees and of every other human being. He is the creator, the sustainer and the protector of the black and the white people, the men of the West and the East, those who belong to the upper caste and the lower caste. He is the Lord of all creations.\ “Allah is the Creator of all things and He is the Guardian and Disposer of all affairs.”(Qur'an 39:62) “Such is Allah, your Lord; the Creator of all things, there is no Allah save Him. How then are ye perverted?”(Qur'an 40:62) “For Allah, He is my Lord and your Lord: so worship Him: this is a Straight Way.”(Qur'an 43:64) “To Him is due the primal origin of the heavens and the earth: How can He have a son when He hath no consort? He created all things, and He hath full knowledge of all things. That is Allah, your Lord! There is no god but He, the Creator of all things: then worship ye Him: and He hath power to dispose of all affairs.”(Qur'an 6:101,102) This term ‘Allah' that the Qur'an uses to refer to the creator is not coined by the Qur'an. This term has been in use among the Arabs even before the prophet hood of Muhammad(S). The Arabs were polytheists worshipping Latha, Uzza, Hubal and many more dummy gods. They never considered these dummy gods as Allah. Instead, they considered them as mediators for recommending their needs to Allah. The Holy Qur'an underlines the fact that they used the term Allah to allude to the sole creator and all powerful God. “If thou ask them, who created them, they will certainly say, Allah: How then are they deluded away (from the Truth)?”(Qur'an 43:87) “If indeed thou ask them who has created the heavens and the earth and subjected the sun and the moon (to his Law), they will certainly reply, “Allah”. How are they then deluded away (from the truth)?”(Qur'an 29:61) “And if indeed thou ask them who it is that sends down rain from the sky, and gives life therewith to the earth after its death, they will certainly reply, “Allah!” Say, “Praise be to Allah!” But most of them understand not.” (Qur'an 29:63) Say: “Who is the Lord of the seven heavens, and the Lord of the Throne (of Glory) Supreme?” They will say, “(They belong) to Allah.” Say: “Will ye not then be filled with awe?” (Qur'an 23:86, 87) Say: “Who is it in whose hands is the governance of all things,- who protects (all), but is not protected (of any)? (Say) if ye know.” They will say, “(It belongs) to Allah.” Say: “Then how are ye deluded?” (Qur'an 23:88, 89) It is evident from the history of the Arabs that they used the name Allah to refer to the sole saviour of the whole world. Prophet Muhammad's father, who had passed away to months before his birth, was named Abdullah – meaning ‘slave of Allah'. Indeed it is due to his trust in Allah that Prophet Muhammad's grandfather, Abdul Muthalib named his son ‘Abdullah' (slave of Allah). Abbas (R) also named his son ‘Abdullah' even before accepting Islam as his religion. Abdullah ibn Abbas was another famous Companion of the Prophet (S). Likewise, we can come across many holding the name Abdullah in the late period of ignorance and in the beginning of Muhammad (S)'s prophethood. Thwalhathubnu Ubaidillah, Abdullahibnu Salam and Abdullah ibn Jadaan are such familiar names in Islamic history. Thus, it is as clear as a crystal that the term ‘Allah' was coined neither by the Qur'an nor by Prophet Muhammad (S). Not only had the polytheists among the Arab disbelievers, but also Jews and Christians referred to the actual god as ‘Allah'. In the Qur'anic verses mentioning about Jews who considered Uzair (Ezra) as the son of God and about Christians who considered Messiah (Christ) as the son of God, the term used is Ibnullah which means ‘Allah's son'. Have a glance at this verse: The Jews say, “Ezra is the son of Allah “; and the Christians say, “The Messiah is the son of Allah.” That is their statement from their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved [before them]. May Allah destroy them; how are they deluded? (Qur'an 9:30) Even though Torah, Injeel and Sabur refer to the absolute lord as Allah, the Christians consider Him as one among the Trinity. The Qur'an verse commenting on this says: “They made Allah one among the three”: They do blaspheme who say: Allah is one of three in a Trinity: for there is no god except One Allah. If they desist not from their word (of blasphemy), verily a grievous penalty will befall the blasphemers among them. (Qur'an 5:73) Another significant point to be mentioned here is that the Arabic Bible, too, uses the word Allah to refer to the ultimate God. Here is a reference from the Arabic Bible: Arabic Bible, Gospel of John, Chapter 1, verses 1 - 5. English Translation of the mentioned verses in the King James Version of the Bible is as follows: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made . 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” The prophet was assigned to a community offering worship to many Gods. He did not demand them to abandon every God of theirs and to offer worship to the one whom he points out. Rather, he called them to offer all worships to the one whom they all agree to be the creator, controller and protector. Ask them: “Whose is the earth and those who are in it? Tell us if you know” They will surely say: “Allah's.” Say: “Then why do you not take heed?” Ask them: “Who is the Lord of the seven heavens, the Lord of the Great Throne?” They will surely say: “Allah.” Say: “Will you not, then, fear (Allah)?” Say, “In whose hand is the realm of all things - and He protects while none can protect against Him - if you should know?” They will say, “[All belongs] to Allah.” Say, “Then how are you deluded?” We have sent them the Truth: but they indeed practise falsehood! No son did Allah beget, nor is there any god along with Him: (if there were many gods), behold, each god would have taken away what he had created, and some would have lorded it over others! Glory to Allah! (He is free) from the (sort of) things they attribute to Him! He knows what is hidden and what is open: too high is He for the partners they attribute to Him! (Qur'an 23:84-92)